…I actually updated Jo’s Shutterfly account. In a bout of internet paranoia, I added a password but I bet you can guess it. If you can’t there is a link to my email on the site and I will send it to you. More coming soon.
Monthly Archives: July 2012
The heat has finally broken. We are soaking up the cool air and cramming in as much baby wearing as possible until it gets sweaty again. I am not quite sure how people wear their babies in the summer/ in places where it is hot all the time.
I have to admit, the sun/heat really kind of freaked me out with Jolene. Not in a “oh no climate change/ what kind of world is she inheriting” kind of way (although now that I mention it…) but in a “i read somewhere that your skin is about 1/8 as thick as mine so if your skin gets burned your internal organs might get burned too….” kind of way. I hope this is because she is a little baby and not because I am an overprotective freak. I was able to laugh at this here Summer Safety Quiz, so hopefully it is the former.
Anyway, here are somethings I have learned from this month of intense heat/ three weeks of swim lessons at the lake in the sun with an infant.
1. Sunscreen. Duh. I used this, probably because it has an Eric Carl picture on it. Also it is “free from the bad stuff.” I might be a sucker, but I really don’t have the time/ interest to pour over chemical free mama forum boards to find the perfect sunscreen. I believe Eric Carl. I found this stuff a little pastey, but Jo loves being rubbed down with lotion/ sunscreen, so it was fine for her.
2. Shade. Another duh. Jolene’s Yaya bought her a beach cabana and it has been amazing. I don’t want to suggest that to have a baby outside in the summer, you just have to buy lots of crap, but with a tent I didn’t have to be super paranoid about sun exposure.
3. Take baby in the water. I didn’t dunk Jo’s head, but I carried her out where the water was chest deep, in the lake and in the ocean. She loves to splash and suck salt water off her fists.
4. Diaper sleeping. I did a lot of googling when it got hot about what to do, and everywhere it said MAKE SURE YOUR BABY HAS A ONSIE ON FOR SLEEPING. Screw that. Diaper sleeping is a thing.
5. Fans?! Jolene loves the white noise of the fan for falling asleep. When it got really muggy, falling asleep became really tough because Jolene got really sweaty and cranky. I pointed the fan at her for bed time, but moved it back towards me when she was asleep mostly for selfish reasons, but also because you’re not supposed have the fan pointed at your baby all night because they could get cold. Especially if they’re diaper sleeping (see above).
6. Frozen food! I froze lots of cucumber sticks for Jo when it was hot and she loved them. I also bought this popsicle base with a net on top that you can put ice cubes or frozen fruit in and your little one won’t choke. Very anti BLW ( I think?), but sometimes you gotta do what makes you feel comfortable.
7. Cool sponge bath. Mmmm yeah.
8. Water? Breastmilk? Something to think about… babies at Jo’s age don’t need additional water, but breast milk gets more thirst quenching when its super hot out, so if you’re feeding pumped/frozen milk from back when it was not so hot, it won’t be so thirst quenching. I started introducing a sippy cup with water when it was real hot and Jolene loved it. You probably aren’t supposed to give them too much water. Google it. I am not a doctor…
I am on vacation! You can tell because my feet are dirty, my hands smell like fish emulsion, and I am in my PJs! I spent the WHOLE DAY with Bean today. We stayed in bed and read, took a long walk, took a long nap, went to her 6 month well baby appointment, bought fish oil at the grocery store because I ran out about a month ago (also how is it possible that I have already mentioned fish twice in this post) and then she fell asleep on me and I wandered through Marshalls staring at sandals. They have really great sandals, for anyone whose feet haven’t grown a half-size in the last year. That thing about your feet growing and not getting smaller when you get pregnant… sadly true. Not that there is anything wrong with big feet, but I am 5’4″, I’m not sure I can handle a size 10 feet. It was the best day I’ve had in a long time.
Jolene has been 6 months for a couple of days and usually I write her page in her baby book on the 16th of every month (usually around 11:40 at night…just under the wire) but I feel at a bit of a loss for this one. It’s big. Half of her first year on planet Earth is behind us (well not behind us like we dropped it… we are just carrying it in our pockets always) and we both know it. From about 3 months to 5 1/2 months, Jolene (and I think other babies, or so I’ve read) spent a lot of time in really intense, one on one social interaction. I could lay her down on my knees (“mommy mountain”) and we would just stare and coo and smile at each other pretty much indefinitely. It’s different now. And it isn’t simply that she realizes how brilliant the world besides her mum is, that happened a couple months ago. I think she has suddenly realized, on some level, her own agency in that brilliant world. Even the hairbrush lying a foot away has potential to be in her mouth after a few minutes of belly pivoting and army crawling.
And although she loves me (usually when she needs something ahem), she often prefers to explore the not mummy parts of the word (except during our raspberry blowing contests). Like tonight… I was attempting to read her Goodnight Moon and she was fussing and moaning and grabbing it from me so I gave in and let her have it. She flipped onto her belly and turned away and proceeded to chew on it in her own space. This parenting thing is just letting go and letting go and letting go….
Aaaand just when you think that baby is asleep for good, she isn’t anymore…
I am worried I am ruining all of Jolene’s baby pictures with my chasm-cleavage.
after the third medical professional, this time inside the blood mobile, said to me “I strongly recommend that you do not give blood if you are still nursing… it is a really bad idea,” I finally went home. I did, however, keep the coupon for a free gallon of ice cream because, come on.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I
tromped around through the trees
and got lost several times because
it seemed like the best idea at the time
Last night I nursed Jolene to sleep for the first time in about three weeks. I was so tired and just wanted to sit in the kitchen and chat with my family and not go through the put down pick up wait outside the bedroom door and then RUSH IN when she cries game that has been Jolene’s bedtime. Sometimes I also sit downstairs in the kitchen and turn up stuff on youtube. loud and let her whine and sniffle upstairs. We are not crying it out, to be clear. I totally get it, by the way. I’ll bet it works but its just not for us.
So the goal: to get Jolene in the habit of soothing herself to sleep, so I can (eventually) put her down in the crib, sing a little song, say “goodnight” and go on my merry way. The approach: Tromping around in the woods of sleep training, with out straight up crying it out. I have done some googling, and I am into Elizabeth Pantley (of The No Cry Sleep Solution) who recommends slowly talking away sleep aids, such as nursing, setting up the environment for sleep and using a phrase, like “its sleepy time” that the baby begins to associate with sleep. I also like Tracy Hogg (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer… yeah i know) who picks up a baby each time they cry, to reassure them that it is okay to fall asleep, then puts them back.
Someday I might read these books. For now, bedtime goes roughly like this… I hose Jo down from dinner or at least wash her face. Then I change her diaper and give her a little massage with some fancy organic baby massage oil that my aunt gave me. Then I attempt to read a book, but usually Jolene is just groping me to nurse so we do that till she’s a little sleepy but by no means asleep. I put her down in her crib with “Lovie,” this cuddly blanket monster dude that my friend gave Jolene. From time to time I put a dab of my perfume on Lovie or rub some of my sweat on him (sorry if that’s gross) so Lovie smells like me. I sing to her and then leave and come back in 5 minutes for a little back rub. Then I kind of improv, listening outside the door to if her crying is accelerating or decelerating. If it’s accelerating, even if she isn’t “crying” very much, I come in, pick her up and cuddle and hold her and put her back down. If she starts really crying (not just whimpering) again I pick her right back up. Tracy Hogg wrote that she once picked up a baby 157 times in one night. The next night it was only 30. The next night it was only 10. If she’s just whimpering or making little near crying sounds, I putter around downstairs.
Its funny, getting to know a new routine, especially one that you are doing with someone else. For fear of sounding like an awful person, its like of like working with a horse or a dog. Reading body language, vocal tone, and generally exuding calm and confidence. I notice that just before Jo falls asleep, she turns away from the door and rolls back and forth in this certain way.
Anyhow, that’s what seems to work for us. I think my larger point is that there are all these parenting styles and philosophies and you can’t be afraid to go with your intuition and combine them and guess and experiment. I have been all about BLW business in theory but sometimes it is simpler to spoon feed. When no ones watching.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about time. How it moves, when it moves and most of all how I spend mine. Suddenly, for the first time in a long time, I am “busy” No… I am exhausted. Staying home with Jo, cleaning, planning meals, grocery shopping, doing laundry was tiring, but if it got really bad I could take a nap with Jolene or at the very least nurse lying down. I can’t do that at work. Also suddenly, I have three children. You might think “oh no its different, nannying is so different than parenting” but when it comes down to it, when we all go to the lake, I am responsible for three lives (other than mine), three potential sunburns (ignoring me, I am officially lobster woman), three beings that need to be constantly reminded to eat and drink water and not throw sand (well Jolene isn’t quite there…). The children are helpful with Jolene about 20% of the time. They sing “Amazing Grace” to her when she is crying and they do like to hold her (so I have free hands to do important things like take the banana bread out of the oven…). The other 80% of the time, we are just the slowest train. Thats fine. I leave way waaaay too early for everything and accept that if I want the 5 year old to learn how to buckle herself in, she must do it herself. Also HOW CAN THAT TAKE SO LONG??
The time that is difficult is the coming home tired time. My room is this crazy laundry hell and I usually help my mum with dinner but then Jolene needs to be nursed and I am trying a new bedtime schedule and there are just only so many hours before I need to force myself to go to bed so I won’t be a caffeinated mess at work. The thing that is suffering, besides the suffocating laundry (my clothes are suffocating each other because they are in such a teetering pile, no human beans are at risk of laundry suffocating… to be clear) is the solid, Jolene and Cecilia giggling and scooting around on the floor time (because that is a thing that happens now! sort of?)…with lots of books and rolling over and kisses.
This kind of time…
(thats Jolene at 1 month! something I do with my should be sleeping time is look at teeny Jo baby pictures!)
The time I have alone with Jolene is in the early morning, when I am wishing her asleep so I can sleep, and bed time, when I am wishing her asleep so I can have a couple of child free hours in the day. This needs to change. Somewhere, at some point(s) in the week I will make it happen. Because if I don’t have time for that, why do I spend any time reading or bathing or doing most other things… like rereading the 2nd Hunger Games book most of the day today…did I really need to do that? (yes)
There is a lot of weighing of time. I can’t wash my sheets but I can watch an episode of Magic School Bus before bed?? Really?! But that makes sense because a thing I know about myself is that if the environment gets too messy, I waste precious time entertaining myself with dumb stuff because I can’t face the mess. I do not think I am the only one who does this.
Anyway, blah blah more virtuous activity, less 90s nostalgia/ general staring at a screen too late at night. Speaking of which…..
…bok choy, toast, a stripped down chicken bone, sausage and apples, and red pepper and fennel. In that order.
(And if you can’t tell, we have the best high chair in the world….craigslist. )
I’m not going to lie, its been a little scary. There has been hearty coughing, garden variety gagging and one big banana puke. I have given her things only to snatch them back because they are too crumbly or sweet (she flipped yesterday when I wouldn’t let her keep my popsicle) and I have picked up the same apple pieces up off the floor (dirt is good ) only to pick it up a millisecond later. Jo is doing this new thing where she bangs her fists on her high chair tray, sending the food in her hands flying.
But I get to eat, Jolene gets sensory awesomeness and mad picking-up-and-putting-in-her-mouth skills and everyone has fun. Delightful. This I highly recommend.